As you may remember, my project received a lot of attention last year. Although I have since moved onto other projects as well, I continue to work with robots that aim to act more appropriately around people.
I was lucky enough to capture this video on my camera which I set up just as the storm was approaching.
From the CBC web site:
Paul Saulnier is originally from Millidgeville and is now living in Calgary working on his masters degree in computer science.
As more outlets have picked up my Roomba emotional control story, other outlets come forward to cover the story.
Last week, my interview with Dr. Saul Greenberg (who coordinated with my supervisor and myself on this project) was broadcast nationwide on CBC Spark.
Various news sites from around the world spread the word in other languages.
In Dutch! And a few more.
I was also contacted for individual interviews for the web sites of Wired and Wired UK.
In British English!
The Telegraph-Journal from my hometown also ran a story on the front page of their weekly Innovate section, with a very large colour photo.
My colleagues in the lab were quite amused as they saw me on the floor for this shot. The carpet, thankfully, was very clean. The Roomba in this photo actually has had its vacuum parts removed, so it’s not responsible for the cleanliness. Is a Roomba still a Roomba if it cannot vacuum?
Overall, this media attention has been a wild ride beyond my craziest expectations. I am very happy for the support this idea has received. You can view my complete project page on my web site.
This has certainly been a busy and overwhelming week, for good reasons!
Last week, I was contacted by Mike Yawney from Citytv Calgary. He was interested in doing a story about my Stress Roomba project. He had read about it on Engadget and was convinced it would make a fantastic story.
He came to the Interactions Lab on Wednesday with his cameraman, Nick. For an hour and half, I demonstrated my project and we played with my Roomba.
In this photo, you can see me helping out Mike with the headband as he tries it on. Although there were various malfunctions, it only took a few minutes for the system to start working for him on camera.
The next day, I got a call asking me if I want to appear on Breakfast Television the next morning to answer questions about the project. I agreed. So on Friday morning, I got up at the early hour of 5 AM, got ready and headed downtown.
Little did I know, I got off at the new 6th Street station which had just open for the first time only hours before. The City is redoing their downtown stations to accomodate larger cars.
I am sitting on the set of BT in this photo! I regret not asking to keep the mug, though they probably don’t give them away anyway. I got a mug now! 🙂
Basically, they showed Mike’s segment on BT and then asked me some questions.
Today, one of my colleagues in the lab, Daniel, came up to me with a bewildered look on his face, not sure what to say. Finally, he tells me I am on one of his favourite blogs. I tell him, surely you have me confused with someone else.
A link from this article lead me to MIT’s Information Review blog, which published a review of my project last Friday.
How did this happen? Last week, I attended the HRI 2009 Conference in San Diego, California where I presented my previously blogged first academic publication as a poster. Things went well at the conference! Don’t worry, pictures are coming soon from San Francisco, where I went for a few days before San Diego.
Now I was curious if there was any other coverage of my little Roomba project, so I searched around. I found myself on the front page of BotJunkie as well, a robot blog, with an amusing headline.
Later in the day, my project made its way onto Gizmodo, a rather popular blog that I read from time to time, with another rather amusing headline. The comments are also quite good.
As you can imagine, I’m quite excited at the response that my project received. Now I realize it might actually be my mood which causes my Roomba to develop an attitude and refuse to return to its home base, instead hiding out in the most remote place it can find.
UPDATE: My project has now also appeared on Ubergizmo, this time with a bit more mellow headline.
Based on Alexa and Technorati ratings, both Gizmodo and Ubergizmo are two of the most popular gadget blogs around.
UPDATE 2: My project has just appeared on Engadget. Woohoo! This article sheds light on my little comic.